French court reverses ban on Israelis participating in arms show

After the reversal of an earlier ruling made over allegations of war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, the matter could go before the French Supreme Court 

Tamar Shivak, Itamar Eichner|
On Tuesday morning, the French Regional Court for Commercial Matters overturned the decision that had barred Israelis from participating in the Eurosatory 2024 arms exhibition, which opened yesterday in Paris.
The court instructed COGES, the organizing company, to halt the measures taken against the Israeli companies prohibited from setting up booths at the exhibition, effective immediately until the exhibition's closure. Additionally, the court ordered COGES to cover the appeal costs of €55.09, emphasizing the urgency of the ruling. "The French Republic rectifies the decision and instructs all court representatives and security forces to enforce it and assist in its implementation if necessary," the court stated.
Israelis wishing to enter the arms show were also made to sign a document committing not to cooperate with Israeli arms manufacturers before being allowed in.
Amid allegations of war crimes in Gaza, France had previously revoked the participation of 74 Israeli defense companies, who were expected to play a significant role in the exhibition. A video from the event showed the area allocated to these Israeli companies, which had since been repurposed into a construction storage area directly opposite the VIP room.
The Israeli pavilion, deserted
(Video: Tamar Shivak)
Yesterday, the entry of Israeli representatives was banned, as per the French Regional Court's order. The Israeli booth, which usually stands as one of the highlights of the annual exhibition, remained empty despite its prime location. The area that had been painted blue, was covered with photos of the French army, and cafes were set up in the remaining space.
The prohibition on Israel's participation, along with its affiliated companies, had been enforced last month, shortly after the military operation in Rafah. According to a report by "Radio France Internationale," the court canceled Israeli participation due to "the killing of innocent civilians by the Israeli Air Force." Russia was also banned from participating due to its ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
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הביתן הטורקי
הביתן הטורקי
The Turkish pavilion
(Photo: Tamar Shivak)
The court's ruling specified that the ban applied to any individual or legal entity that might act on behalf of Israeli companies as intermediaries. The court further argued that the organizers' decision to allow Israeli representatives was blatantly illegal. Pro-Palestinian organizations welcomed the decision, interpreting it as a clear directive to exclude Israelis from the arms fair altogether, effectively ensuring an Israeli-free event.
The organizing company appealed the decision, but the French court postponed the hearing until this morning. The Manufacturers Association also opposed the decision and filed a petition with the Supreme Court in France.
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